Eat our nuclear waste

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Here is potentially good news for the Chicago area, which has more than its share of nuclear waste materials "temporarily" stored at power plants throughout the region.

It's the development of a new chemical material that figurative eats nuclear waste, like a Venus fly trap will eat any insect unfortunate enough to land on it. Argonne National Lab, where the process was developed, described it this way in a press release:

Like a Venus flytrap, a newly discovered chemical material is a
picky eater--it won't snap its jaws shut for just anything.  Instead of
flies, however, its favorite food is radioactive nuclear waste.
Mercouri Kanatzidis, a scientist at the U.S. Department of Energy's
(DOE) Argonne National Laboratory, and Nan Ding, a chemist at
Northwestern University, have crafted a sulfide framework that can trap
radioactive cesium ions.  This mechanism has the potential to help
speed clean-up at power plants and contaminated sites.

Like a Venus flytrap, a newly discovered chemical material is a picky eater--it won't snap its jaws shut for just anything.  Instead of flies, however, its favorite food is radioactive nuclear waste.

Mercouri Kanatzidis, a scientist at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory, and Nan Ding, a chemist at Northwestern University, have crafted a sulfide framework that can trap radioactive cesium ions.  This mechanism has the potential to help speed clean-up at power plants and contaminated sites.

The Chicago area is one of the most producer of nuclear power in the nation, so it has a lot of nuclear waste to deal with. After decades of study and debate, the federal government decided that the best place to permanently bury the waste is under an isolated mountain in Nevada. Despite all the science that says the site is safe, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, the Democrat from Nevada, has managed to kill the project, sending it virtually as far back as the starting line. Such is politics. 

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  • At first I thought the issue was dealing with the radioactive insects. However, I found a link. http://www.azonano.com/news.asp?newsID=16166

    Notwithstanding that, it still doesn't explain that how once it separates the cesium, it does anything to render it nonradioactive so it can be disposed in the environment. Furthermore, it certainly does not say anything about isotopes of uranium and plutonium that are byproducts of nuclear fission.

    So, I wouldn't declare the problem solved yet.

  • Okay now, some few infos:
    -It just capture all ceasium isotopes, radioactive or not, since there isn't much non radioactive one naturally, you can say it does capture >99% of radioactive ones and capture <1% of non-radioactive, everyone ceasium atom.

    -Radioactivity is not modified, you have to dump it elsewhere and wait natural half-life decay (300 years) of ceasium.

    -Uranium and plutonium, well you may feel it's dangerous but less the 0.01% of the radioactivity come from theses, ceasium is around 40-90%, along with strontium. Beside, there is an ecological half-life, plutonium and other substances will just get into the ground and get buried over time, hence the ecological half-life.

    -The nice thing about this is that after a few years (3 or 5), almost every intense radioactive isotope has dacayed (such as iodine), and you are left with the less intenses ones (strontium and ceasium). Finnaly, after you cleaned it, you are left with the really really not intenses ones, plutonium and others (not intense = last long, usually not dangerous).

    -Being able to clean someplace in 3-5 years is huge, instead of centuries.

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